Lightroom FAQs

by Andrew S. Gibson
Lightroom Classic FAQs

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In October 2017 Adobe announced the launch of a new version of Lightroom called Lightroom CC. In a move that can best be described as interesting it also changed the name of the desktop Lightroom app to Lightroom Classic CC.

Then, in May 2019 it changed the name of Lightroom Classic CC to Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom CC to Lightroom (dropping the CC in both cases).

Confused? You can learn more about Lightroom Classic in our Lightroom Classic FAQs. In the meantime, here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about the Lightroom app, the newest addition to the Lightroom family.

What exactly is Lightroom (formerly known as Lightroom CC)?

Lightroom is best described as a desktop version of Lightroom mobile. Adobe has updated Lightroom mobile so that the interface matches the one in Lightroom. The idea is to provide a seamless experience between using Lightroom mobile on a tablet, smartphone and computer.

Should I use Lightroom instead of Lightroom Classic?

No! No! No! If you’re a Lightroom Classic user then continue using it. Lightroom is a completely different application, aimed at photographers who use mobile phones for the majority of their photos, or who don’t mind uploading their photos to Adobe’s servers (i.e. the cloud) and paying for the privilege.

Do I have to upload my photos to the cloud now?

If you use Lightroom, it automatically adds any new photos you add to it to Adobe’s servers. Oh yes, and you have to pay extra for that cloud storage space. That’s why you shouldn’t use Lightroom unless you’re aware of all the implications.

If you use Lightroom Classic you don’t upload any photos to the cloud.

Who is Lightroom for then?

Lightroom is for photographers who take all their photos on a smartphone, don’t want to use Lightroom Classic and don’t mind paying extra for cloud storage space.

Is Lightroom any good?

Actually, it’s surprisingly good. It’s the next step in the natural evolution of Lightroom mobile. If you use a smartphone for all your photography you’ll probably love it. If you use a camera you’ll hate it – cloud storage is too expensive and impractical.

Can I use Lightroom anyway?

Yes you can. If you’re a photography plan subscriber your Creative Cloud app lets you install both Lightroom Classic and the new Lightroom. When you open Lightroom for the first time it downloads and displays any photos that you have synchronized using Smart Previews and synchronized Collections (see the screenshot below). There’s no harm in installing Lightroom and checking it out. But whatever you do, don’t migrate your Catalog to it!

Lightroom CC FAQs

Can Lightroom be part of my workflow?

There’s two ways you can use Lightroom as part of your workflow.

1. To view and develop photos on two different computers. For example, you could use Lightroom Classic on your main computer and Lightroom on a laptop. Any photos in synchronized Collections will show up in Lightroom. Any photos you edit in Lightroom are synched back to Lightroom Classic. All you need to make this work is a good internet connection.

2. To develop photos taken with a smartphone and keep them separate from your other photos. You could conceivably use Lightroom Classic for your regular photos and Lightroom for your smartphone photos, giving you the best of both worlds. But make sure you understand how much cloud storage space costs before you commit to this workflow.

What happens when the Creative Cloud license ends?

First, anything you may have read about Adobe keeping your photos hostage is nonsense.

If you’re a Lightroom user you won’t be able to use the application any more. The good news is that Adobe keeps your photos on its servers for 12 months after you cancel your subscription. You can download your photos using a new app called Image Downloader Utility.

But bear in mind that you should always back your photos up and keep copies on external hard drives at home. If you do this properly you don’t have to worry about what happens to your photos on Adobe’s servers.

More questions

Hopefully these FAQs have answered your most pressing questions about Lightroom. Once you understand exactly what Lightroom is and the type of photographer it’s aimed at you’ll probably feel better about any negativity generated by Adobe’s recent changes to Lightroom. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions that I haven’t answered!

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Niall B January 18, 2021 - 7:28 pm

Great article on the different versions of lightroom. What I can’t find anywhere are the computer specs for lightroom, new version. Even Adobe just give the Lr mobile specs and the LR classic specs, but no lightroom specs. As it’s online, missing some functionality, surely the minimumrecommended spec requirements will be different. Any ideas?

Andrew S. Gibson January 19, 2021 - 3:26 pm

Hi Niall, the Lightroom program itself isn’t online, it’s installed on your computer just like any other app. The only thing that’s in the cloud is any photos that you import into it. I recommend you use Lightroom Classic rather than Lightroom for a number of reasons, but you’ll find the computer specs here:

Bruce Pourciau June 30, 2021 - 3:44 pm

A photographer friend of mine has died, and his wife would like to stop paying Adobe the subscription cost but worries that her husband’s photos will be lost. Would you have any suggestions? Would it make sense to export all the photos as jpegs onto an external drive?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Bruce Pourciau

Andrew S. Gibson July 2, 2021 - 11:01 am

Hi Bruce, did your friend use Lightroom Classic or the Lightroom desktop app? If it’s Lightroom Classic there’s no need to worry as you still have full access to photos if you stop paying the subscription. The Develop module won’t work, but you can still view and export photos. If it’s the Lightroom desktop app she’ll need to download the photo from the cloud (ie. Adobe’s servers) first. There’s more info on that here:


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